Thursday, July 16, 2015

2015 Paper Arts+ (CHA) Sneak Peeks and a Li'l Digi Layout!

I'm not sure if anyone still stops by here, but lately I've been feeling like doing a little blogging again and I wanted to pop in and say hello! Life has been crazy here, but good crazy. Darren finished his first year of medical school and loves it, and I'm still working full time writing software. On top of that, Star and Bee has continued to grow and is almost another full-time job on its own, and I love (I know, lots of love going on here) running it. I am probably insane for even thinking about blogging again, and hopefully you won't mind if posts are sporadic (probably very sporadic). It definitely won't be anything like the schedule I used to keep back in the day!

I did want to bring back one part of my "old" blogging habits, though- the CHA Summer 2015 Sneak Peeks!

I know, I know, it's called Paper Arts+ during the summer now, but out of habit I still call it CHA. :) I'm not quite caught up with finding them all yet, and some companies have gone to monthly or quarterly collections that blur the lines between CHA releases. Some collections listed may already be shipping, but they're all the most recent from each company. Also, I've been really out of the loop over the last year as far as releases go, since most of my focus has been digital- please forgive me if I'm a little rusty getting started!

I've been doing mostly digi scrapping since the beginning of the year, mostly because my craft table was always taken over by Star and Bee and I had no space for paper! We've done some rearranging in the house, though, to make things better (honestly, we should probably just get a bigger house, but this one is paid off and I just don't want a mortgage payment right now), and recently my craft table went from a pile-o-stuff to usable again! I still have to keep the photography setup in place for business use, but I definitely have space to play now.

File Jul 16, 9 58 39 AM

 You'd think that the first thing I'd do after getting the scrap room cleaned up would be to make a layout, but somehow I fell straight into stamping. I blame Jennifer McGuire and her awesome video on the Zig Clean Color Real Brush markers. I never really took to using Copics (a friend of mine joked that it was because they actually require work), but I fell hard for these brush pens the very first time I used one. My only regret is that I bought the 36 pack and not a larger size (I would recommend at least the 48 pack for better color variety). They are so easy to use and get great results, which is perfect for someone like me with zero real artistic ability. Suddenly I'm rediscovering all of my outline stamps, especially the ones from my Lawn Fawn days, and also buying a few new ones like this adorable giraffe from the WPlus9 Party Animal set.

File Jul 16, 10 01 11 AM

My scrapbooking has been a little sparse in the past year, but I've really been wanting to get back to it and have been working on getting my layout process down to a timeframe of about 30 minutes so that it's easier to work a page in here and there. A big part of that change was switching over to 8.5x11 for the majority of my pages. That's not to say that I won't bust out a 12x12 now and again (especially with a sketch from Scrapbook Generation), as well, but I really do love how quickly these little rectangular pages come together.

Here's a recent digital layout using supplies from the July BYOC at The Lilypad (you can find a full list of credits for it in my layout gallery over there):

disney fireworks

I'm finding myself floating between digital pages, cards, and I even have supplies and the start of a couple of paper layouts on my table right now, too! I'll be sharing a mix of all of those things here as I have time, so hopefully you'll come along with me on this new, more relaxed, more balanced season of my crafting.

It's so lovely to be talking to you all again! Have an awesome day!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Create Magazine and Simple Stories

Oh, my, it's been quiet around here! There are lots of reasons for that, and I'll get to them a bit later in this post. Right now, though, I'm excited to share a layout that you'll find in the latest issue of Scrapbook Generation's Create magazine!

It's no secret that I love Scrapbook Generation's sketch downloads, so when they asked the Simple Stories design team to contribute layouts to the May issue, I jumped at the chance! I worked with a two page sketch (you can find all of this month's featured sketches here as a free download) and used Simple Stories' Hey Mom simple set to finish up scrapping some photos from Mother's Day of 2012. I've done a few one- and two- photo layouts from this day already, but I had a bunch of random shots left over that I wanted to go ahead and get on a page. This two-page sketch has space for 12 photos!

simple stories create.jpg






Create's sketch downloads include both a single and double page layout sketch as well as card and tag sketches each month, and I used some of the leftovers from my layout to make a tag following the May sketch.


So, about the five week silence here on the blog...

If you listened to the Paperclipping Roundtable a few weeks ago, then you've already heard this, but life has gotten extremely busy for me lately. Not a stressed out sort of busy, but I do find myself going full speed from the time I wake up until the time I go to bed each day, and the blog has simply fallen to the bottom of my priority list.

I had an inkling that this was going to happen back in April, and at that time I contacted all of my design teams to let them know that I would need to step down this summer. They've all been great about working on an exit date with me, and I'm staying on to work through the design cycle with the product I've already been sent. I absolutely did not want to just drop everybody suddenly and have given them plenty of time and notice, and Crate Paper and Simple Stories both actually asked if I wanted to stay on to work with the mid-season releases, even after I sent in my resignation. I'll be leaving all of my teams in the June/July timeframe.

Citrus Twist asked if I'd like to stay on after my last kit as a designer with them (in July, which is when the new design team from their current call will be announced) and continue to do the monthly kit reveal videos as well as taking a more active role on their social media channels. I've always been a behind-the-scenes technical consultant for them on their various channels, so it's a natural role for me to fall into. I'll also be taking over photographing the kits for the web site, and I actually started that with May's kits.

I'll also be retiring completely from blogging after my last design team assignments in July. I have enjoyed blogging here for the last 6 years, but my life has changed to the point where I just don't have time for it any more without letting something else important fall through the cracks. With Darren starting school this fall and a growing Star & Bee (which I am so, so grateful for- I actually spent most of the last three days moving the business operations into a new, bigger space to work in!) on my hands along with a full-time job, there just aren't enough hours in the day to give my best work to everything.

I'll still be scrapbooking for sure- I have so many little challenges on a list for myself, including no more shopping and using up the supplies that I have. I've also got a wild idea to make a layout using each and every one of Scrapbook Generation's sketches (and there are hundreds!), and I'm itching to do more digital scrapbooking, especially as I work through my physical supplies (which, honestly, will take years). Not having to photograph and post layouts will leave me more time for crafting, which I'm really looking forward to.

I will absolutely miss all of the lovely people who have read and commented on my blog over the years, and I'm so grateful for your support. Thank you all!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Color Me - Thistle, Powder Blue, and Violet

I still have several color palettes that I planned out before I cut back on my blog schedule, so I'll be dropping in one of those every once in a while, just so things won't be quite so quiet here! 

color 9

Image sources: Heart Handmade UK | Creature Comforts | Creative Geisslein

Friday, April 11, 2014

Project Life 2011 - July 31 - August 6, 2011

Spring has finally decided to make an appearance here in Huntsville! This week I've been able to experience the joys of running outdoors without freezing my tail off, driving without the need for heated seats (though I'm still eternally grateful to Darren for that particular Christmas gift last year), and gardening. The Botanical Garden is having their annual Spring plant sale this weekend, and we went today and came home with a few choice bits of greenery to add to the gardens here at the house.

There's lots of green in the Project Life layout I'm posting today, too, including photos from a trip to the Gardens and flowers blooming in my front yard nearly two years ago. Some things will never change, thank goodness!

project life 2011 - jul 31 - august 6.jpg


This layout was actually up on the Simple Stories blog a couple of weeks ago, and I turned the camera on and filmed while I was scrapping so I could put together a video of the process.

I simply adore Simple Stories' "A Charmed Life" collection, and as a St. Patrick's Day birthday girl it felt a little wrong to use it for something besides birthday photos the first time I cut into it. The greens, blues, and yellows were just perfect for these photos, though, and I'm sure I'll be using it again on St. Patrick's Day pictures before too long.







In a small and not-entirely-unrelated-to-my-recent-blog-silence bit of news, Darren (otherwise known as my husband and also as "he who installed the awesome heated seats that I mentioned above") has officially been accepted to medical school starting this fall! I'm thrilled for him since he's wanted this for a long, long time, but it's also brought on more than a few "so much to do and so little time" thoughts since the acceptance letter arrived. We have so many things we want to finish around the house, and basically only one summer left to do them all before he starts four years of school followed by four years of residency. The next three months are now or never time for getting those things done ourselves, and we'll definitely be staying busy!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Workspace Wednesday - Manual Die Cutting Within Reach

I still have a few of the regular posts that I wrote before I took a permanent break from my daily blogging schedule, and from time to time I'll drop one of them here. That's not to say that I'll never participate in something like Workspace Wednesday again, but it definitely won't be a weekly thing!

When something isn't getting used in my craft space, it usually means that it's not being stored where I can easily get to it and then just as easily put it away. Take my Sizzix Big Kick, for example. I love using it (especially with alphabet dies!), and I have a healthy collection of dies thanks to a year and a half spent on the Lawn Fawn design team and more than a slight addiction to Papertrey. Unfortunately, a manual die cutter does have a fairly big footprint, so it's not something I'm willing to just leave sitting out on my scrapping surface all the time. Instead, it and my Xyron were shoved onto out-of-the-way, inconvenient shelves, meaning they didn't come out to play very often.

Until now, that is!


When we built my new craft table last fall, I knew that die cutting tools were one of the things I wanted to have right within reach. This little space at the end of one of my craft table's shelves (you can see a full shot of the shelves here) is just perfect for housing both my Big Kick and my Xyron 900, which I often use to add adhesive to the backs papers before cutting them with alphabet dies. Unfortunately, the Xyron had been stored in an even more inconvenient place than the Big Kick, and I once actually lost it in my scrap room. I mean, who loses a huge Xyron 900?!? My scrap room is not that big!


Both machines are now right under the top of my craft table, so I can just pull them out when I need to use them and then put them right back. My dies are on a shelf right beside my Big Kick, and you can read more about how I store my thin metal dies here.


There are certain types of material such as felt and glitter paper that I normally only use when die cutting, so I've gathered all of those together to make them easy to find, too! That was actually a project that I tackled last October, and now, nearly 6 months later, the contents those three IKEA Alex drawers are staying organized and getting used, so I think I have a winner here! You can read more about how I organize these drawers here, but if you just want pretty photos, I took a new round to share. :)








My Silhouette sits on top of the Alex cart, and I'm actually reworking the large furniture pieces in this area right now, thanks to my new desk that I picked up on my last trip to IKEA. That should put my Silhouette in a spot where it's super easy to use, and I'll share that down the road as I have time.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Glitter, Stripes, and a Star Wars del Sol

Yes, I am indeed still alive, but, dude, what a week or so it's been since I last posted! After having an awesome birthday last Monday, I came home from work on Tuesday night with some flu-ish sort of virus. I say "ish" because it turned out to not be the actual flu, but it certainly felt like it for about a day! That little incident was directly followed by a sinus infection that took a while to diagnose since I thought it was simply the remnants of the flu-like mystery bug. I'm happily medicated now, though, and even happier to pop in today to share a couple of projects that I made for Crate Paper last week!


Last week's theme on the Crate blog was "Glitter and Stripes," and I went in two very different directions with it. First, I combined both the glitter and the stripes to make a pair of cards. I had just ordered Papertrey Ink's Center Stage cover plate die and was of course itching to use it. It cut through a piece of American Craft's Pow! glitter paper like butter, and I used the full cutout on the card above and a few of the individual chevrons on the card below.



The rest of the supplies are all from the Styleboard collection by Maggie Holmes, including the little sentiments that came from one of the cut-apart sheets in the paper pack. I thought that they'd both work well for birthday cards, but I suspect that poor Darren isn't going to quite know what to do with them next time he raids the card box (which happens often). Perhaps I should go back and stamp a birthday greeting inside each card just to help him out a little bit. :)

My next project is definitely more geeky than girly and uses the Boy's Rule line.



This Star Wars themed Honda del Sol was one of the first things I spotted upon arriving at Star Wars Celebration VI, and as soon as I saw it, I knew it was going to be a good convention! Okay, so, yes, I knew that beforehand, but the car really sealed the deal! You see, I drive a del Sol and have for almost 12 years. Mine is actually a '93 model, has over 315,000 miles on it, and hardly ever gives me any trouble, meaning I'm in no hurry at all to replace it. I love it so much that I bought my cousin's del Sol (I actually scrapped a layout about she and I being "car twins" a couple of years ago) when she sold it, so now I have two of them! I suppose I could have a newer car if I wanted, but I've had the chance to drive a few dozen different models as rentals during all of my work travels, and there's just nothing that fits me like this one! It's a good thing that Darren, who is somewhat confused by birthday cards that omit the word "birthday" is MacGyver when it comes to fixing cars and...well...anything!

I turned on the camera while I was making this layout, so you can see how it came together if you like.

I'd actually intended to use the striped paper that you see at the very beginning of the video as a border around the whole page, but as soon as I pulled out that striped transparency from the photo overlay pack I changed course and used it for my "stripes" instead. After that, the entire layout literally fell into place, and I was very grateful for that since I'd literally spent 30 minutes off camera before filming trying to come up with a photo arrangement I liked! In the end I didn't use anything that I came up with during that session and even ended up changing page sizes. And, wow, I'm always so amazed at how fast an 8.5x11 canvas fills up!




I've got another couple of videos filmed and either uploaded or in the editing queue, so I'll be sharing those soon! The lighter blogging schedule means that I have a little more time for things like that now, though I don't intend to let it be another week before posting again!
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